Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day message...from our hearts to yours


Dear Friends,

This is my 24th year celebrating this day as a mommy. I tease my children and husband that it is the most important holiday of the year for me~ bigger than Valentine's Day or even my birthday, so they better not forget:)

In this age of modern thinking, I am not ashamed to say- motherhood defines me.

I would not be who I am without the gift of my children. They have all changed me and enriched my life just by being who they are, and I am so proud and honored to be called Mama by ten of the best children on the planet. And kids, if you're reading: I love you more than life itself.

Being the parent of a child with special needs is no different- we love our children unconditionally, whether they grew in our tummies or in our hearts- we love because that's what mothers do.

I read something on the other day, and it sparked this post. One mama said she felt a disconnect at times, when it came to relating to families of typical children. She felt- as I have at times- veiled pity in the eyes or words of others, when it came to explaining that her child has Down syndrome. What this mom wanted to convey to others- loved ones, friends, and even strangers- is that loving her child was not a hard thing. That we are not special or saintly because we raise our children with love- we are simply moms.

So today we want to bridge that gap...because as moms, we need each other. Whether we are moms of typical children, or moms of kids who arrived in life with some extra challenges; we started wearing our hearts outside our bodies the day we became mothers.

I put out on all call here on Lily's blog yesterday for mamas of children with Down syndrome to answer a question....

The response was overwhelming, and without a doubt this has been one of my favorite posts to put together. Thank you ladies, for sharing your hearts and your children.

Happy Mother's Day from some of the best mamas I know....

As a mom, what do you wish others knew about Down syndrome?


"Babies with Down syndrome choose life too."

Andrea Roberts and Reece


As a mother, I wish people knew that children with Down sydrome are just that-children. My daughter Ellie is a little girl first and foremost. I would love for people to understand that caring for a child with Ds is, yes, life changing, but not in a bad, horrible way. Yes, there are challenges and health conditions associated with the extra chromosome, but there is also joy. As a mother of child with Down syndrome, you learn about patience, determination, motivation, & advocacy and you learn to not take things for granted. You learn that you are a stronger than you thought you were. Being Ellie's mother has taught me to embrace and celebrate every triumph such a sitting up independently, self-feeding, walking, and uttering her first word. Down syndrome is not a contagious disease and not everyone with Down syndrome is the same. It is a syndrome characterized by extra genetic material of the 21st chromosome and it manifests itself via common physiological and cognitive characteristics. My daughter has Down syndrome, but she also has blond hair, blue eyes, my husband’s sweet nature, and my feistiness. She is not the syndrome, but rather a beautiful little girl who has taught her mother that while life may be difficult and challenging at times, it is also full of beauty, love, and undying devotion.


Anna and Ellie


I wish everyone knew that Down syndrome isn't something to be scared of - it's something to be in awe of!


Melissa and Abby


I wish that the world would realize that Down syndrome is not a mistake, disease or tragedy. It is a perfect design by our heavenly father for certain children that simply includes some extras in life. And even though some of those extras might be hard pills to swallow, the extra love and extra happiness that accompanies this perfect design more than makes up for whatever hardships might be there.


Deanna and Addison


As a mom, I wish that people knew that Down Syndrome is nothing to be scared of. Each person living with Down Syndrom is beautiful and unique, just like everyone else in this world.


Kelli and Colin


I once heard someone say that when you have a child with Down Syndrome, your heart sees colors that you never knew existed. And from the moment Charlie was placed in my arms I knew it was true. Our lives are overflowing with joy that comes from the purity of our two youngest treasures. They have taught us all about living and loving without boundaries. I could focus and dwell on the things my children may never do or on all the medical issues Celia has, but those moments would be wasted. I will not place limits on either of them. Neither Charlie nor Celia ARE Down Syndrome. They are both beautiful individuals who just happened to be rockin' a little something extra...both bubbling over with potential and life! On this Mother's Day my heart is bursting with color! I am incredibly honored and so unworthy of the treasures God has entrusted in my care.


Charlie, Elisabeth and Celia


The best thing I could say to put it into perspective is that having a child with Down syndrome is a great deal like not having a child and then having one. There is a period of adjustment, some changes you have to make in your life to responsibly parent that child, and then you adjust to your new role and your new life. That is pretty much how it works for us with our kids with Ds. At the end of the day, they are our children, and we adapt ourselves and adjust and learn to be the best parents we can based on how they learn and behave. It is work, but not all that much different than adjusting to the peculiarities of my other kids. And there is much more joy than is assumed. I think that is why so many people who have had a child with Ds choose to adopt. The fear of parenting a child with Down syndrome is so overblown compared to the reality for most of us.


Missy and Violette


I wish everyone knew that people with Down syndrome understand everything that goes on around them. That they are not just in their own little world oblivious to everything around them. They hear, they see, they feel, they learn...They understand.


Jenny and Russell


I wish people knew that Down syndrome was only a small piece of who my daughter is; it does not define her nor does it imply she is void of the simple feelings and dreams we, as human beings, all share.


Jennifer and Megan


My life went from ordinary to extraordinary with the birth of my daughter. Having a daughter with Down syndrome helped open my eyes and heart to the beauty all around me. It has made me a better person and mother. Just like with all of my children, I feel extremely blessed and lucky to be her mother!


Heather and Morgan


I wish people knew that Down Syndrome is not sad, it's not a burden, it's not a hopeless future. That the pity in their eyes when they look at my child or when they say their "I'm sorry's" is how they feel about Down Syndrome, it's not what I as a mother feel. Our children were created in God's eyes, in perfect form. My daughter is spectacular! I wish they could feel the joy I can feel in Ollie's soul pouring out into this world with just a smile. It's like this tiny peek into heaven that most people will never experience or understand. My child isn't typical, and that's a good thing. She's special, she's unique, she's a baby, she has a personality, she is so much more, and she has Down Syndrome. It doesn't define her, it's a tiny piece of her. I know she will be capable of whatever she puts her mind to, and as her mother I plan to be her number one fan. Her advocator, her protector, and one of her best friends. I am blessed on this journey of Down Syndrome. I am so proud to say I am Ollie's mother.


Annie and Ollie


I would say the most important thing about Down syndrome is that it's a beautiful thing! I have never met another family that has a child with DS that been affected negatively by their child's diagnosis...all have said that having a child with DS has changed their lives for the better. When I look at my daughter and other people with DS, I see nothing but perfection. They treat others with dignity, respect, non-judgmental, acceptance, and most of all love. I wish more of us could look at the world through the eyes of a person with Down syndrome...this world would be a better place for sure.


Deanna and Reagan


I've loved both of my children effortlessly, automatically since the moment the pregnancy tests showed positive. Both my boys are treated the same. They are loved the same, I play games with both of them and when they are naughty they both get in timeouts the same way. The difference between the two other than age is one has DS and one is "typical".


Cindie and TJ


As a mom of a Beautiful Little Princess with Down syndrome I wish others could feel the Love and Joy this child has brought to our family. We were blessed to adopt Isabelle and bring her home from an Ukranian orphanage in January 2011. I wish everyone would let her wrap her sweet arms around their neck so they could feel the love this girl has to offer. She has melted the hearts of so many already with one hug. Even some of our family members were hesitant to hold her or get close because she has Down syndrome. But she didn't care and she would scoot right over, put her little arms up in the air and give those family members a lightening bolt of TRUE LOVE that they will never forget.


Summer and Belle


There is nothing to be afraid of (with God's help). When you are told that your baby has this condition, your whole world comes into question. So many things lined up against them. I think that this is why so many choose not to walk the road we walk--because it is simply terrifying. But I would love for them to know the love and the joy that Jack brings to us. To experience the all encompassing love that comes from those small arms wrapped tightly around your neck...Don't believe everything you read about what is to be expected. Each child is unique and our God is a big God. We have enjoyed celebrating who Jack is and are excited for each new development in both his and our own life. Having Jack has moved us from a world of always comparing to a new and wonderful place of freedom to live with excitement and anticipation of what God will bring out of each one of us and out of each moment of our lives.

Ultimately I would say that I wish people would understand that Jack is smart and funny and his own person--not have him judged and put into a box before he can really show who he is. I say this also to myself because sometimes I still get scared of what lies in the future. By God's grace and with our support, just like each of our children, Jack will become everything that he was created to be by the grace of God. He is smart and loving and inquisitive just like any other child. Having Jack come into our lives has brought all these simple and important things into clear focus for us as family because we opened our hearts to one sweet life.


Jenn and Jack


While this may sound cliched and overstated, as a mother I truly wish people would remember that babies with Down syndrome are babies, children with Down syndrome are children, people with Down syndrome are people. They may look a little different and learn at a different pace, but they are real people with real feelings, wants, cares, etc. Down syndrome is not a disease, is not contagious, does not make someone any less of a person, or somehow less worthy of respect. Down syndrome is just a chromosomal anomaly, one that helped to create my beautiful daughter, her happy life, her sense of humor, her magnetic personality that draws people to her like moths to a flame. As a mother, I want people to know that Down syndrome is not a death sentence, of either my life or hers, and I honestly cannot imagine my girl as anyone other than who she is. Down syndrome has opened up a whole new world for me, made me a better person and more accepting of the differences in all people.


Becca and Samantha


I wish everyone could know that God doesn't make mistakes! He created this perfect child and we are so happy He chose us to be Luke's parents!! Our joy boy is an awesome gift!


Dayna and Luke


Having a child with Down's Syndrome is the greatest gift a parent can be given. My daughter is full of so much light, sunshine, and unaldulterated love. She captures hearts where ever she goes and I find that NO ONE can look at her and not smile! She may have an extra chromosome, but she is just like any other baby, with a personality all her own. She is constant motion, laughter, smiles and cuddles. I wish that every one knew the immense blessing of having a child so special in their lives. This world would be a little brighter if they did! We can all learn from these amazing kids. Lydia has taught me so much about strength, determination, thankfulness, faith, hope, patience and yes, even love, in her short 4 months. I look forward to learning the other lessons she has in store for me! :)


Heidi and Liddy


I wish that people could understand that kids with Down syndrome are just that--KIDS. Not everything in Roo's life revolves around Down syndrome. While I am very thankful that Down's is not one generally associated with behavorial issues, I grow tired of hearing that Roo is sweet or happy or content because he is "one of THOSE kids." No, he's sweet and wonderful because he's Roo. Are his poor naps associated with his Down syndrome? What about the way he curls his tongue up over his lip? Or the way he smiles when someone sings high notes? I really don't know. Maybe, I guess. But some babies don't nap well and some do quirky things and some like music and... well, you get the idea. Roo is and does all of those things not because some condition made him that way, but because GOD made him that way. And we love every bit of him. :-)


Katy and Roo


Down syndrome can be a wonderful blessing in life. I've gained so many new friendships just because of Joseph's extra genetic material. My life is richer and more colorful because of Down syndrome; I would change nothing about my child.

Christie and Joseph


I guess I could write a book on that question, but I'll keep it simple . Speaking as a mom, what I wish people knew about Down syndrome are the things you are not going to find on Web MD, or in the doctors office. Things like how many more times you are going to laugh(not cry) because of your child with Down syndrome. And about those crooked little pinkies, you're going to be wrapped tightly around them, and until you know and love someone with Down syndrome you haven't really seen all the colors in the world. You will loose yourself in their eyes and be swallowed up by their spirit, you will see ability not disability, and great triumphs in the smallest accomplishments. I wish people knew what they were missing, when they choose to look away. They miss the miracle.


Steph and Em


I love a quote I saw posted on FB last month: "Raising a child with special needs doesn't TAKE a special family, it MAKES a family special." I fell madly in love with Evan the moment I first held him in my arms in the hospital, not long after our surprise post-natal diagnosis. I somehow felt like I instantly had a stronger bond with him than I had with my other two children, yet I can't explain why. Yes, I love my children all the same and would give my life for each and every one of them... but the one with something extra... has me wrapped extra tight around his little finger.


Amy and Evan


When my son was born, the very first thing I did was mourn the child he was not. Even though he was only hours old, I thought I knew what he should have or could have been like, and I was disappointed that he wasn't what I thought.
I lamented the fact, out loud even, that he would never get married, drive a car, live on his own, etc. I put limitations on him before he was even a few days old! His very own mother! Of course I am ashamed of my assumptions now. Now, as I watch Ben grow and develop and come into his own, I realize that it isn't fair for anyone to put limitations on a child--any child. Whose to say that my child with Down syndrome might not accomplish something? Better yet, who I am to assume that my other typically developing children WILL accomplish those things and Ben won't?
People with Down syndrome are doing all those things, and so much more. They are college students, authors, actors, professionals, volunteers. They date, fall in love and get married. They can ride a bike, go roller skating, learn to drive a car. They can make their beds, do the dishes, live on their own. They can and they are. People with Down syndrome can do all these things when they have the full love and support of their famiy and friends, when they are surrounded by people who do not put limitations on them. The one thing I wish others knew about Down syndrome is that Down syndrome itself is not limiting--only poor attitudes are. Your child can, and will, do great things! Limitations are for sissies. :)


Amy and Ben


I get so many comments about being so "strong". But it doesn't really take strength to love your beautiful perfect and amazing baby. I guess I can understand to a point where people are coming from, after her first three months with a NICU stay, so much feeding trouble and OHS. But you just do what you need to do for your baby and yourself and you get through it. And it's all OK because you're doing it for the person you love most in the world. I don't think it takes strength. It's hard for me to see myself as "stronger" than before. I am different of course. I am now a mother. And I think that that is the biggest change of all, for anyone, and I don't think Ds has anything to do with it.


Leah and Cora


My daughter is exactly who is she suppossed to be and that makes me exactly the mother I'm suppossed to be.


Judy and Kalleigh


Mother's Day reflection can be a dangerous pursuit, especially when we allow doubt to creep in. I made a conscious choice, early in my mothering career, to embrace it all.....failings and triumphs, because it seems to me that they both combine to build us into who God knows we can become. Our faults bring compassion, empathy, and humility, and our successes bring gratitude, confidence, and appreciation. Having a child with Down syndrome slightly skews the natural course of things but I believe it skews our course towards Heaven....not away from it. Down syndrome highlights every single parcel of who I am and how I view the world. Down syndrome has made me a better mother. Disability and ability alike enrich our minds and spirits. I wish this concept could be understood clearly enough to cast out fear and offer greater acceptance and inclusion. Yes, attitudes regarding disability have come a long way but I believe there is much further to go. I continue to be amazed at the tender mercies that Heavenly Father offers to me. I know he knows me. I know he knows what I need to carry on in this thing called life. The beauty of God's plan for me unfolds with every breath I take. Megan just turned 19 but I still cry when I watch her baby videos or view her baby photos. I see a young, apprehensive new mother who is trying to hide her pain with a smile. I see a couple who is holding onto each other for dear life, wondering if they are in a bad dream. The future is so uncertain. There are so many unanswered questions. How will we ever make it through this? Can it really be 19 years later? Yes, it can. The changes that have occurred in us are nearly immeasurable. The beautiful dark haired healthy baby girl is now a beautiful blonde haired young woman. She is strong. She is smart and most of all she is loved. This is what I wish people knew about Down syndrome. Control your fears and uncertainty and let the miracle of Down syndrome enhance your life.


Laurie and Megan


I wish people knew that though the dreams might be different, my dreams for my child with Down syndrome are no less significant than the dreams I have for my children who are typically-developing. I appreciate all of my children's milestones and accomplishments now more than I did before because I've grown to appreciate the small things and not take anything in life for granted. Micah is the best teacher God has ever given me!


Jennie and Micah


I wish they knew how blessed I feel to finally have someone in my life who has Down syndrome. Calvin is first and foremost my son. He is just another kid around here and is often considered the cutest baby people have ever seen. He learns games we play with him (his favorite is “Pat-A-Cake”), he learned to nurse, he recognizes familiar faces, and much more. He has a tongue that could quite possibly put Gene Simmons out of business. He captures people’s fascination and hearts. I wish others would know that giving Down syndrome a chance may just be the best thing they could offer themselves and others. The world gets large with someone like Calvin by their side. I love Calvin like I love my other sons but he opened up a part of me that reminds me of the saying “if you give an inch, they’ll take a mile” (sort of like “if you give a mouse a cookie”).


Ilisa and Cal


I would love to tell people that having a child with DS can happen to ANYONE! You don’t need to be a "special" family, you don’t need to be a "strong person" you don’t need to be more smart, less religious, more caring… you just need to be a woman who produces eggs and can conceive!! And once that happens a mom will love and care for their child NO MATTER WHAT!


Caroline and Manolo


I wish people that having a child with Down syndrome is not scary. The unknown about the future is scary, but that comes with any child. You realize VERY quickly that your child with down syndrome is more like your other children than they are different. Down syndrome is not a curse and it is not a disease. It is so much better than people understand. I remember telling my sister in law last year when she found our her daughter had down syndrome that I couldn't wait for her to really know what it was like to have this special child in her life, and how quickly she would realize how lucky she is.
Every child has challenges and children with down syndrome are no different. We have our challenges but they do not compare to the joy and the love that we have in our home now because of our child who has down syndrome.
I am proud to have a child with Down syndrome.


Kecia and Bree


When our daughter, Mary, was born, I thought she had down syndrome. She had some markers that indicated she might. I was concerned. My sweet husband kept saying to me, "If she does, she is a special gift, honey." I would say that I knew that to him, but I was honestly relieved to know for sure she didn't. Then we had our Benji with that extra special chromosome. What I really desire and hope to convey to others is that children with down syndrome truly ARE gifts from God knitted together perfectly in their mother's womb. And I do not say that just to sound right or good, I sincerely KNOW it now. Benji is actually an extra, special gift from God, and we cannot imagine our lives without him. He blesses our lives in ways we never knew possible. We cherish him daily like a hidden treasure we have been searching for all of our lives. We are truly blessed and thankful for this precious, little guy.

Cara and Benji


As a mom, I wish that people knew that Down syndrome was just one part of our lives, it doesn't define us. It is one part of Munchkin, it does not define her. I have seen this play out in my blogging. Originally, Mutterings and Musings was a way to connect with other families with Ds, educate readers, and provide a source of hope for newly diagnosed families. As the years have passed, though, I have written as many posts that are not about Ds as I have written those that are. It's just one facet of our lives.

I was recently talking with a father, who had received a prenatal diagnosis of Ds. He asked me in what ways was our life with Munchkin different than if she didn't have Ds. It was so hard to answer that, and I had to stifle a giggle, because our lives are sort of just like everyone else's. I know a little bit more about congenital heart defects than the average mom. I threw out all those books and magazines about raising babies because they didn't apply to us. There are lots of acronyms in our vocabulary. Other than that, we're just a regular old family with two wacky kids.

Of course, now is the part where I completely contradict myself....because what I also want people to know about Down syndrome is that it is the most amazing gift I've ever been given. It has changed everything about me and who I am and how I see the world. It is only one part of my daughter, but is the part that molded her into a loving, cheerful, compassionate, spirited, affectionate, and amazing child. Since Munchkin was my first child, I cannot say how much motherhood, alone, with no qualifications, would have changed me. All I can say is that motherhood, with Down syndrome, has been the single most important thing to ever happen to me.


Courtney and Lucy


When I recieved Patti's email asking "as a mom, what do you wish people knew about Down Syndrome?" I thought well, that is easy.
As I began to type I could think of so much I wanted to say but in the grand scheme of this thing called life I wish everyone knew that my son is just like any other child. He understands. He learns. He wants friendships. He has feelings. He gets sad. He is forgiving, he holds no grudge. Most importantly... he loves.
I want people to know that although William may not speak like your child or may need some extra help it does not make him less of a person. Do not understimate what he can and will do in the future. Also, it is important to allow him to make mistakes, after all how will he learn if he doesn't make a few wrong turns in life? I want him to be able to do for himself and not depend on others for things to be done for him. My little man is bright, funny and very social, he WILL go far in all he does.
I do not want anyone to feel sorry for us because William has brought us more happiness than we could have ever asked for. It is hard to explain to parents who don't have a child with special needs but I would not change my William for anything in the world. He has given us the chance to slow down a little and see the small, more important parts of life.
Most importantly, William is a perfect gift from God as are our other children and he is precious in His sight.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalms 139:13-16

Mommas enjoy your babies and have a very blessed day.


April and William


I wish people knew that life with a child with Down syndrome is so normal. It's just life...with something extra! Sometimes that something extra is frustrating or stressful, and sometimes it's amazingly wonderful! Most of the time, though, it's barely noticeable. As a mom of seven, I now understand that all children have special needs. With Down syndrome, we just get advance notice of what some of them may be. Eon's needs just fit in with the rest of the kids' needs. He needs to have his juice thickened, Zak needs reminders to flush the toilet, Ellie needs more 1:1 time than most, Ben needs structure, etc. Eon's needs don't overshadow or take away from the rest of the kids, he's just one of the bunch. He is loved and valued and has enriched our lives in ways I never could've imagined. The world is a better place because he's in it.


Tara and Eon


I wish people realized that Down syndrome sounds much scarier than it actually is. Yes, there will be challenges and hard times, but there have also been many days I've cried happy tears, and cheered harder than I ever have before. Every child, every person, has things they struggle with. The fact that Claire has Down syndrome gives me some idea of the areas she may need help in, but it doesn't define her. It doesn't tell me if she will enjoying swimming, or if she would rather go hiking. It doesn't tell me what will be her favorite subject in school, or what she and her friends will enjoy doing after school.

What I really want people to know is that raising Claire has been amazing so far, and I can't imagine my life without her.


Melissa and Claire


Honestly I wish that people understood two things that are interconnected. One is that we all need Down syndrome in our lives, in our society. I see Reagan touching lives in an amazing rippling effect and she's only 7 months old, just because she exists. The second is, I think, the reason for the first. The joy that Down syndrome brings is huge, made so partly because of the challenges (physical and health-wise) that it brings. Each success is bigger and worth celebrating, each smile more precious, each moment more cherished. Down syndrome brings more feeling, good, bad, scary and excited. And more feeling is a life more richly lived.


Shauna and Reagan

The thing I love about kids with DS is that they are so happy! I tell everyone that my daughters have the extra happy gene!


Nina, mom to Emma and Abby...and pretty soon Elizabeth as well!!:)


A diagnosis of Down syndrome is NOT the end of the world! Please don't say "I'm sorry...." when someone tells you that their baby has Down syndrome!


Penny and Wyatt


I wish people could understand that while Kamdyn may be "special", she is also just a child, like any other. At a year old, she loves to eat french fries, play with balloons, and make people smile. One day, she will play with baby dolls, throw a tantrum, ride a bike, roll her eyes, read a book, and do things that each of our other children are doing. And when we see her do them, we won't think, "Wow, isn't she special", because Down syndrome is only a part of her life. And we won't be shocked, because we believe in her, and we hope everyone else will too.


Trica and Kamdyn


Down Syndrome is simply triple the 21st chromosome....that is there is nothing to be afraid reason to question why "you"...just the beauty in front of you...embrace the unknown journey that lies ahead...and being uneasy with the future is "normal"; you will survive...because you may blink and miss out on the best person you will ever know...

have a wonderful Mothers Day...smiles


Kim and Maddie


One thing that I wish other people knew is that just because a person has Down syndrome, doesn’t mean that they are “stupid”. Different, yes. Special, yes. But stupid, absolutely not! People with Down syndrome might take a little longer to figure things out, but I can tell you from experience, they CAN figure it out! Timothy is so smart! Watching him learn, and do things for himself is so awesome. I can literally see things coming together for him when he is thinking on something. I believe that there is nothing that he can’t do.


Mel and Timothy


We love having a child with Down syndrome SO MUCH that we want another one. :) :) :)


Susanna and Verity


As a mother with a son with Down Syndrome, I want people to know that people with Down Syndrome can and will do everything that you and I do. They are not as different as everyone thinks. God made them they way they are just like he made us the way we are. Down Syndrome is not a death sentence or scary thing. Our lives have been so blessed since our Max has been born. He has touched more lives than I thought was possible.
God doesn't make mistakes.


Melissa and Max


I want everyone to know that after my 10 months with Chloe and her extra chromosome my impatient soul is aching for God to lead me to another! I wish that every single person in the world could have the opportunity to experience the pure joy that Down syndrome has brought my life.. The world would truly be a different place!


Beth and Chloe


I would love people to know that we love our Alyssa just the way she is (Ds or not ) she has taught me to learn to appreciate our lives and we don't want anyone's pity, we consider ourselves lucky to have her!


Alyssa and her mommy


Honestly, I LOVE parenting Ty. From the second he was born I had an immense amount of pride in the fact that he is my son, and I am his mother. It has nothing to do with the fact that he has DS, but in who he is as a person. I love him because he's mine, and is the child who I have imagined having and fulfilling my dream of being a parent. .
That being said, I can't say that his DS doesn't contribute to what I love about him as a person. He is one of the strongest and bravest people I know, as he has visited more doctors than I have in my entire life, and he still leaves with a smile on his face. He has incredible determination, which he shows every time he works and works and works to achieve a goal that doesn't come easily or naturally to him. Watching him grow, learn, and succeed is 1,000 times more exciting and fills me with immense pride, because I know how hard he works to learn new things or move his body in ways that are hard for him. I have learned to take nothing for granted, and to celebrate everything because firsts only happen once. While I know I will love all of my future children just as much, I think that being a parent of a child with DS has allowed me to experience an incredible part of parenting, that many parents do not get to experience. In some ways I feel bad that this is something that a lot of people will never understand, because they'll never have the chance. But that's what I wish people knew and got to experience, because it's really a very cool ride!


Kerry (not pictured) and Ty


I wish everyone could know so much...The beauty that is that precious little round face with the narrow chin. The beauty that is such a ready smile and free flowing giggle. The beauty that is the determination with which our children accomplish things that come so easily for others who don't appreciate them. I wish everyone could know the beautiful spirit that emanates from my daughter and her friends, the acceptance that they show to everyone, no matter the differences. I wish mothers and fathers could know that this is not something to be feared and avoided at all costs, but instead something that teaches all in it's presence that life is about the moments, the celebrations, the triumphs, and the journey to get to each. My daughter has made me a better person, in every area of life, and it's not in spite of her Down syndrome, but largely because of it. And for that, I celebrate her, down to the last copy of that 21st chromosome.


Randa-Kay and Braska


I want you to understand that for me, Moxie having an extra chromosome is about the same as her having my fair skin. I'd rather she didn't, but the fact that she does is far from the end of the world. There are things to appreciate about having fair skin. As I learn more about Down syndrome, I'm sure I'll find things to appreciate about it too. Just as there are things that I appreciate about being deaf (- like the ability to turn off the world - not to be underrated when kids throw tantrums).

Understand that I got the perfect baby for me and that I wouldn't trade her in if I could. I'll take the Ds since it's a part of her parcel, and I love - no, adore - that parcel.

Be happy for me. I got what I wanted.

A sparkly, beautiful baby girl.


Moxie and Meriah


As a mom I wish that people knew that Down syndrome is just a piece of what makes up Bailey. It is not what defines her, it is not the whole of her. She is a precious baby girl and yes, she has Down syndrome, but above all, she is simply a baby - loved and adored beyond words and the perfect addition to our family!


Christie and Bailey


As a new mother of an indescribably precious little girl with Ds, and long time volunteer with Ds adults, my heart would soar if I could convey to those who felt Gemma's diagnosis would translate into a burden for us how blessed we feel that WE get to be her parents! We are so in love with Gemma and her big personality already, that any fear we had initially has been transformed into a new kind of contented acceptance. We fight over who gets to change her in the morning because her infectious first-smile-of-the-day is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen :)
We know there are hurdles we'll encounter along the way, and I'm a consummate graduate student so continue to immerse myself in research in order to "be prepared", but sometime during the last twelve weeks our fear was gradually replaced by awe and gratitude. Both our twins are miracles, but Gemma's diagnosis could have so easily resulted in another miscarriage that, for us, she is a double miracle.
I think, in a perfect world, there would be more children and adults with Ds so that more folks would have the opportunity to appreciate what they have to teach us "typicals", who seem to be prone to a crippling list of hyper-analytical afflictions, both personal and social (self-doubt, hatred, competitive individualism, discrimination, depression...).
Nothing about these incredible children and adults is tragic, and if only more people had a chance to know a person with Ds, the world would be a better place.


Jennifer and Gemma


As a mom, I wish everyone could experience the pure joy of living and loving someone who lives life with gusto, without worries about tomorrow, who isn't afraid to trust others, who never gives a "half-hearted" hug (or actually ever does anything half-heartedly), someone who redefines success, someone who isn't afraid to be honest, someone who will give you more than you can ever give them, someone who will teach you about the real meaning of life. While someone with Down syndrome may learn slower or take longer to master some skills, it actually is quite amazing how that "slower" pace can give you time to actually appreciate and celebrate the "process".


Laurie and Nevin


I wish people knew that a baby with Down syndrome is a baby first and foremost. Down syndrome is just a small part of them… It’s OK to feel sad at first, but ultimately, you will receive greater joy and blessings from your child with Down syndrome than you could ever imagine. No doubt, your child will touch many lives for the better. Treat your child as you would any of your children… give them love and care and tools to learn. In turn, they will calm your fears and shatter your misperceptions about Ds, and help you see a new, brighter future than you thought possible for someone with Ds. The road isn’t always easy, but it has the best view.


Monica and John Michael


P.S. Happy Mother's Day to the best mom there is~ love you mom! :)



Becca said...

An absolutely BEAUTIFUL post, Patti! I couldn't wait to get up and read it this morning. :-) Happy mother's day to you, and to mothers everywhere!!!

Janie Fox said...

Lovely very true and just beautiful words!
I am a little prejudice but Ollie is sooooo cute ;)

Renee said...

Great! Do you mind if I link this to a blog post?

To Love Endlessly said...

Brought tears to my eyes

my family said...

thanks for including us you rock Patti.
Happy mothers day to you

one_plustwins said...

Absolutely beautiful...the best and only present I will get today <3

RK said...

It's really neat to see so many moms and kiddos I *DON'T* know... so many new stories to search out. (In your FREE time (HA!)in the future, Patti, would love to see some links to these super cool moms if they have blogs! ;o)

Happy Mother's Day to you, and I also add a happy wish to your mother, who clearly did a marvelous job preparing you for your most important role!

Violette's Mom said...

Beautiful post Patti! Thank you! The only thing I'd add as I said on the board - I don't love Violette in spite of her having Ds - I just love her! Happy Mother's Day!

Anonymous said...

Tonight as I drove down to the local shopping centre to pick up Kate from her part time job, Lewis, my 10 year old boy with DS, who always comes with me to collect Kate (because he idolises her) pointed and said to me "Mum... Look" "What is it?" I asked... "Ala dibby gye la colours" as he looked behind us... In front of us was a lovely sunset. One that we take for granted because it is always there, over the water, warm, red and glowing...
But Lewis pointed behind...
I turned to look, and WOW...
The sky to the east was aglow in bright pinks and purples...

Reminded me to look back every now and then... ofeten we miss the best of life by being intent on moving forward...

Slow down a little and take in the scenery... this is a once in a lifetime ride, let's enjoy it for what it is worth :)

cathy said...


we are all moms & our children come in all shapes, sizes, chromosomes, abilities & we love them equally & unconditionally. we are the lucky ones

happy MOTHERS Day


Anna Theurer said...

Patti,you are correct--this post is GOOD! Love it and all of the other mamas on here.

RK: you can check out our blog if you want (Anna & Ellie towards the top of the post)

Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Unknown said...

such a great post...I hope it finds new moms and gives them the warmth and knowledge to know they are not alone...and everything is going to be ok...that there baby is perfection! smiles

~Kristin~ said...

Cara sent me a link to this post and I just wanted to thank all of you for articulating your thoughts and love so well. This was a beautiful post and it brought tears to my eyes. I do not have a baby with DS, but my sister had a baby a few months ago, that suffered a traumatic brain injury at birth and will always be a "special" little girl. Her birth and your stories have made me come to realize so many new things about mothering and it's journey. My eyes are opened in a completely different way now.
Thank you all!
Happy Mother's Day!

CJP said...

Another beautiful post!! Happy mother's day!!

Alyssa's mom said...

I loved it Patti, have a blessed mothers day!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful Mother's Day treat Patti!! Thank you for putting this together. Of course, I am in tears again. I LOVE seeing all of these beautiful faces of kiddos with down syndrome; they melt me.

I enjoyed reading all of these SO much- they have blessed my heart. A couple of things that just jumped out at me was when Penny wrote not to tell people I am sorry when someone tells you their baby has down syndrome. That is SO true- one thing that would really discourage me when we first had Benji. Also, when Susanna wrote that they love having a child with down syndrome so much that they want another one. Oh, that just made me SMILE big!! Everyone wrote from their heart and encouraged me.

Love you Patti! I hope you have a beautiful day with your family. Give ALL of those kiddos lots of love from us. And please tell me that you are resting and relaxing. Love, Cara

Leah said...

Oh Patti! How wonderful! Thank you for putting together such a beautiful homage to our children. Happy Mother's Day to you!

Meriah said...

Hats off to you, Patti - I have no idea how you pulled that together so fast and so well. That's really lovely. And like seeing our whole BC family together. Truly - wonderful post

JC said...

Crying!! Its funny, reading something like this my mind goes back to the morning Russell was born and how my heart broke as I heard the words Down syndrome...To now...To feeling so much pride, so much happiness...To feeling blessed and honored to be Russells Mom, to be a part of this special "club" I never in a million years would have thought I would have wanted to be in!
This was a beautiful post Patti! Happy Mothers Day :)

Rochelle said...

Beautiful, sorry I just saw your all call...You are awesome, love you have a wonderful day my friend!

Chris6h said...

Patti, you rocked it! GREAT JOB!! :) Happy Mothers Day.

Jennifer Legate said...

Thanks for letting us be a part of this Patti. It gives me strength as a Mom to see that so many of you are on the same journey and falling in love with your children just as I am.

Mel said...

What an honor to be a part of such a wonderful group of Moms. Happy Mother's Day to you Patti!! Thank you for letting me be a part of it!

Tara said...

Beautiful and heart-warming, Patti! Thanks for letting us be a part of it. I posted it on Babycenter's amnio board. Thought it might help alleviate someone's fears. Hugs! Happy Mother's Day!

Wren said...

You did such an amazing job...what a wonderful tribute!!! I wish I would have checked my email year! :) Happy Mother's day!

Stephanie said...

Beautiful mama's!! what a treat to see so many photo's. Moms don't usually make it on to the blogs!

i was here this morning but got teary looking at the pics. Thanks for doing this post Patti.

Have a beautiful day my friend.

Stephanie said...

oh I forgot... the picture of Susanna and verity is amazing1 There is something about that picture. So much love and joy on both their faces!! i love it!

nicole said...

Can't wait to come back and real this all the way through ~ just had time to appreciate all the beautiful pictures now.

nicole said...

They hear, they see, they feel, they learn . . . They understand. Oh my goodness, that quote cut me to the heart for several reasons ~ mostly because of the orphans. I hope and pray they can all feel just a fraction of the love you selfless Mamas shower on your babes. Great post Patti.

Patti said...

renee- go ahead! :) if you want to send a photo of you and your girls, I'd love to include it- sorry I didn't get that all call out sooner than yesterday!

Angel said...

My favorite post yet!! Absolutely gorgeous. :)

Laurie said...

Thanks so much this post. It was wonderful to be able to be a part of it.
The internet has been so wonderful for connecting us. Would have loved to have had the internet when Nevin was born, as there were times when I felt a bit alone. There in nothing like connecting with other families that also share the privilege of loving/being loved by someone with Down syndrome!! :) Thanks again, Patti. I hope you had a wonderful mother's day!

Kristin said...

What an incredible post. Happy Mother's Day!

Michelle Z said...

SO Beautiful to read! I'm bummed I didn't get to submit something in time, but so glad I got to read everyone else!! What a great bunch of pics -- love seeing all the moms with their children :)

Amanda and Matt Dalton said...

Thank you, Thank you for this beautiful post this, my very first, Mother's Day. As I await the special arrival of my baby (Sept. 30) this is just the thing I needed on this day to celebrate this little one that is coming to me.

Anonymous said...

YAY YAY YAY!!! I love love love it! :) Can't you tell? I'm talking in triplet? lol This made me cry (in a good way)! I loved reading what all the other mamas wrote and I'm also sooo darn excited to have my words on your page...(its like a stalker's dream lol)
Much love to you, your family, and sweet Lily, Heidi and Lydia

Lisa said...

This is wonderful! I really enjoyed seeing some familiar faces in this post and finding some new families to learn about. Happy Mother's Day to all the "special" Moms out there :)! I haven't been on my computer this week, and missed the call for pictures and a brief note. I don't know that anyone mentioned it here yet, but there are so many families who have a child with Down syndrome--come to learn what that actually means--and go on to adopt another child with Ds. We discovered very quickly that Bridget was a perfect human being and a perfect addition to our family...and then chose travel half way around the world to add Alina to our family. Our girls with Down syndrome are every bit as loved and as important as every other member of our group. They are a very bright light in our lives!

Susanna said...

Patti, you were right! I needed a box of tissues! Thank you so much for putting this together, and I hope you had a Mother's Day that was as wonderful as you are, friend!

bentleys_mommy said...

I absolutely love reading your blog, every single post, every single word, and of course looking at every single picture! I dont think i've read any of your post that didnt have me crying by the end of it!

Happy Mothers Day!!

Anonymous said...

LOVE IT! I am so glad to be in this club of special mommas. God Bless and Happy Mother's Day!!

amy said...

Simply, beautiful, and so very appreciated. Happy Mother's day to all you wonderful moms.

Anonymous said...

Happy, Happy Mothers Day to an amazingly awesome woman (I'm talking to you Patti!)

That was the most beautiful blog post I've ever read! Everyones words were so heartfelt! I think that even if you don't have children with down sydnrome (yet) they can still change your life for the better. I know I see everything, every person in an entriely new light. Just being "involved" through Reece's Rainbow has made such an impact on my life. One day, when I'm 25 and I can adopt, I will be so overwhelmingly proud to call a child with Down Syndrome MY child.

Patti said...

One day, when I'm 25 and I can adopt, I will be so overwhelmingly proud to call a child with Down Syndrome MY child.

Sydney~ you just MADE my Mother's Day. Thank you :)

Deanna said...

Oh Patti, I'm so glad that you did this-and thank you so much for including me! Brilliantly inspired post, as always. (-: I hope you had a happy Mother's Day!

Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

Beautiful post!! I blogged about it and linked to your blog...Why? Because that is my bff Laurie and my Nevin in your post, both of whom have richly blessed my life and the lives of my whole family.

L.A.C.E. said...

Beautiful Post! I learned quite a bit. I don't have a child with Ds,or any other "difference"?, my sister has a child with CAH and I see every day the challenges she goes through. I am one of those people who say "sorry" when I hear about a parent who has a child with Ds, or anything else for that matter. Mainly because I know there are times of challenge that I know I personally wouldn't be able to deal with. I will definitely have to cut that out of my vocabulary.

I want to say too, the one thing I notice when I see a child/person with Ds is that the first thing I notice is their smiles. They have something in their smile that makes you want to smile back. That brings warm and light to an otherwise ordinary moment. A smile of pure innocence and joy unmarred by "typical" life. In that, I am also jealous of mom's and people who get to be beside these special people everyday. I am now a new follower.

heather said...

This post was so beautiful! Thank you for including us! I loved reading what everyone wished people understood about Down syndrome and agreed with each entry.

Oh, we are so lucky to be on this journey! I’m so grateful for the added bonus of making such wonderful friendships along the way because of the common bond of Down syndrome. Happy Mother’s Day to a beautiful friend!

Rob Sader said...

This was just fabulous! You never cease to amaze me! If you do it again next year, I'll have a photo of 2 girls with DS!! :-) Thank you Patti for your talent and're wonderful! And to everyone that participated...hats off to you too! Beautiful pics and perfect words from the heart. Our kids tend to bring out the best in us, don't you think??? Happy Belated Mother's Day to the best moms ever!

Deanna said...

Oh brother...the previous comment was from me, not my husband!! I hate when he gets on my computer! LOL! :-)

Education: Exploring Online Learning said...

I didn't end up commenting on BabyCenter.... but everyone said everything. This is beautiful. Our kids are that - just our kids, unique and fun and heaven-sent!

Melissa said...

Thank you Patti for putting this amazing post together. I'm so glad we could be a part of it!

Kaetlyn and Grace said...

Once again, Patti, YOU NAILED IT! Thank you SO MUCH for this post!

summer said...

Simply Beautiful!!!! Thank you so much Patti!!!! I too hope you had a wonderful day yesterday!!!!

Unknown said...

oh patti this is so beautiful! i am so sorry i missed the call out! xxxx

patsy said...

patti ....such a beautiful post. you ALWAYS get me in tears :) hope you had an amazing day!

Kelly Marin said...

Beautiful Moms, Beautiful Kids, thanks for sharing this, It melted my heart.

Natalie Nelson said...

This is an absolutely beautiful post. Thank you for your inspiration. I loved reading about all of them and I second every one of their comments. They are special little angels sent from heaven and I am proud to day that I am a mother of one.

aly win said...

I loved this post i love all the pictures... and what just really hit home for me is ... I have NEVER met a DS person that did not leaving me smiling and feeling good ! Really ... such joyous positive and happy people :] Like so many of these mothers said their worlds are so much more beautiful and colorful with these lil cuties in their world... It would be pretty nice really appreciate life with out being naturally so caught up in all the pressure and negativity :]
Thank u patti... this gave me tears as well ! happy mothers day ! IT WAS MY 2ND ALREADY ! WHOOO!

Erin said...

Beautiful post! I love seeing all the moms and babies and reading their words. So heartwarming.

Mrs. K said...

Patti, I could not read all those precious entrees at one sitting. My throat closed up, my tears literally poured down my cheeks, my cheeks hurt from grining so much, my heart was swelling. I was experienceing so many different emotions all at once. Pride in these wonderful parents, happiness that more and more Ds children are being accepted and not shut away or being aborted, sadness for those that chose abortion or institutions. When I got to the part about Elizabeth going home I couldn't go any further, had to shut down and balled, thanked Our Almighty Saviour.

Patti, each time I returned I left drained. Such wonderful words of wisdom from each and every one of those Mama's.

I have had many, 43 to be exact, Happy Mother's Days and just reading your blogs makes me ever so proud of you and Hope and Christopher. Love you Sweetie. Mom

Becky said...

I am sitting here crying reading this. It was beautiful. I wish when my daughter with Down syndrome was born four years ago I could have read this post. It would have been an amazing light in those dark days. Thanks for being a support to so many. Your blog is amazing. I could not agree more with all these moms. My daughter is perfect...perfect for my family, a perfect gift from God.

annewalker said...

Awww this is such a heartwarming post! Reading all these Mothers day messages from parents who have children with down syndrome makes me teary-eyed and makes me love my mom more, even she is not here anymore. I so miss her T_T.

To all mom around the world, YOU'RE AMAZING! Happy Mother's Day!

Anne :)